VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Back In The Day (2014)

Claire: 3/5 stars, 7/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 7/10.
Native ratings: 3.2/5 stars Netflix, 4.9/10 IMDB.

A chance to see the yester-stars of TV shows old, namely the “companion” from Firefly’s (Baccarin), and Lex Luther from Smallville (Rosembaum). But in a comedy!

This movie was kind of similar to Grown Ups, where a guy who had moved to Hollywood comes back to his childhood home to hang out with his old friends.  This wasn’t as funny, though.  It had its moments, and it held up enough, but it wasn’t groundbreaking.

There’s no IMDB trivia to explain that this was based on Michael Rosenbaum’s actual childhood friends, but Michael Rosenbaum’s IMDB trivia does mention that he goes back to Indianopolis every year to participate in a whiffleball tournament with his high school friends, and the ending of the movie seems to act like these characters were based on real people.

Anyway, this is a nostalgic movie that meanders all over the place. It’s not that great, other than being a comedy, and comedies are cool. It does have a romantic angle, but it’s still a straight comedy. Romance doesn’t take over the feel of the movie, though it does run the plot at points. But the jokes continue.  They’re not *super*, but they’re still funny.

The movie isn’t very memorable, but when I reviewed it a 2nd time, it was funnier than I had remembered, so there’s that.

Written, directed, and starring Michael Rosenbaum.

Morena Baccarin (the new V series, Firefly, 3 eps of Justice League, 1 ep of Batman: The Brave And The Bold) as Lori.
Michael Rosenbaum (Lex Luthor in Smallville, The Flash in Justice League, Urban Legend, 12 eps of The Zeta Project, 11 eps of Jackie Chan Adventures, 6 eps of Batman Beyond, 1 ep of Batman: The Brave And The Bold) as Jim Owens.
Nick Swardson (Grandma’s Boy, Grown Ups 2, You Don’t Mess With The Zohan, The House Bunny, Blades Of Glory, Click) as Ron Freeman.
Harland Williams (Buckley in Slacker Cats, The Haunted World Of El Superbeasto, Wag The Dog, Dumb & Dumber, 1 ep of Robot Chicken) as Skunk.
Jay R. Ferguson (1 ep of Weeds) as Mark.
Isaiah Mustafa (The Three Stooges) as T.
Emma Caulfield (Buffy The Vampire Slayer series, TiMER, Beverly Hills 90210, 3 eps of Robot Chicken) as Molly.
Richard Marx as Neighbor. Really? Didn’t notice that.


VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Grown Ups 2 (2013)

Clint: 4/5 stars, 8/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 7/10.
Native ratings: 3.8/5 stars Netflix, /10 IMDB.

Clint’s thoughts: I don’t know why the fuck this became a franchise, but look! They took something not so good and greatly improved upon it. Much better than the original. Less family stuff, and more jokes.

Carolyn’s thoughts:  This was funnier than the original.  It wasn’t made up of them just razzing each other the whole entire time.  The jokes were better and more structured.  It was a pleasant surprise that this was better, as we were expecting a lot worse since sequels generally don’t live up to the originals.  I see they added another writer who had worked on more of Adam Sandler’s older movies, so maybe that contributed to the improvement.

Directed by Dennis Dugan (You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, Happy Gilmore, Big Daddy, Problem Child, Just Go With It, Jack And Jill).  Written by Adam Sandler & Fred Wolf (Without A Paddle, SNL) & Tim Herlihy (SNL, Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, The Wedding Singer, The Waterboy, Big Daddy, Little Nicky, Mr. Deeds).  Maybe the addition of that last writer made the difference between how much better this movie was than the first…

Starring the same people from the previous movie:
Adam Sandler as Lenny Feder.
Salma Hayek as Roxanne Chase-Feder.
Chris Rock as Kurt McKenzie.
David Spade as Marcus Higgins.
Rob Schneider as Rob Hilliard.
Steve Buscemi as Wiley.
Kevin James (50 First Dates, uncredited in You Don’t Mess With The Zohan) as Eric Lamonsoff.
Maria Bello (Thank You For Smoking, Coyote Ugly, Shattered) as Sally Lamonsoff.
Maya Rudolph (Saturday Night Live, Shrek 3, Idiocracy, 50 First Dates, Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie, Gattaca, 1 ep of The Simpsons) as Deanne McKenzie.
Ebony Jo-Ann (Kate & Leopold) as Mama Ronzoni.
Colin Quinn (Saturday Night Live, 1 ep of The Larry Sanders Show, 3 Men & A Baby) as Dickie Bailey, the enemy rival.
Tim Meadows (Saturday Night Live, Mean Girls 2, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, Coneheads, 5 eps of Bob’s Burgers, 2 eps of The Life & Times Of Tim, 1 ep of The Venture Bros. as Malcolm, the rival black guy.

New faces:
Jon Lovitz as Squats Fitness Janitor.
Taylor Lautner (Jacob from the Twilight movies) Frat Boy Andy (uncredited). He seemed to have a pretty big part for someone who was uncredited…. Oh, someone in the imdb forum said he did this movie for free…
Nick Swardson (Grandma’s Boy, Just Go With It, The House Bunny, Blades Of Glory, Click, 1 ep of The Human Giant) as Nick.
Shaquille O’Neal (the basketball player, Scary Movie 4, Smurfs 2) as Officer Fluzoo.
Alexander Ludwig (The Hunger Games) as Braden, David Spade’s son.
Georgia Engel (Mary Tyler Moore, 14 eps of Everybody Loves Raymond, 4 eps of The Love Boat, 2 eps of The Office, 2 eps of Mork & Mindy, 1 ep of Unsupervised) as Mrs. Lamonsoff, Eric’s mom.
Peter Dante (Just Go With It, Grandma’s Boy, Mr. Deeds, Big Daddy, The Waterboy, Little Nicky, The Wedding Singer, 3 eps of The Larry Sanders Show) as Officer Dante.
Oliver Hudson (100 eps of Rules Of Engagement) as Kyle.
Allen Covert (Soul Patch in Just Go With It, Grandma’s Boy, 50 First Dates, Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo, The Wedding Singer, The Waterboy, Airheads) as Hippie Teacher.
Steve Austin (the wrestler, Celebrity Deathmatch) as Tommy Cavanaugh.
Milo Ventimiglia (Peter Petrelli in Heroes, Wolverine in the English version of Wolverine) as Frat Boy Milo.

Rob Schneider and his family


VIDEO: Just Go With It (2011)

Claire: 3.3/5 stars, 7.2/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 7/10.
Native ratings: 3.8/5 stars Netflix, 6.3/10 IMDB.

Claire’s thoughts: It was a pretty funny movie. Nothing super, but high quality for a generic rom-com. Not the peak work of anyone in it, but a good cast nonetheless.  It felt like it was written by NBC sitcom writers, who absolutely loved plots revolving around everyone lying an unrealistic amount. That was points against. But the difference between this and and NBC sitcom is that the joke goes on for about 5.5X as long. Things do start to get predictable and formulaic in act 3 — which is expected in a rom-com — but the movie is almost 2 hours, so the comedy survives as long as a typical comedy movie before it putters out into the inevitable romance-genre ending all rom-coms have.

Carolyn’s thoughts: Entertaining.  Not spectacular.  It was no Click, 50 First Dates, or Wedding Singer, but it was decent.

Directed by Dennis Dugan (You Don’t Mess With The Zohan, Saving Silverman, Big Daddy, Happy Gilmore, also an actor in a shitton of shows & movies).  Written by Allan Loeb (Rock Of Ages) and Timothy Dowling (Role Models, George Lucas In Love).

Starring Adam Sandler as Danny Maccabee, Jennifer Aniston as Katherine Murphy, Nicole Kidman as Devlin Adams, and Kevin Nealon as Adon.
Nick Swardson (Grandma’s Boy, You Don’t Mess With The Zohan, The House Bunny, Blades Of Glory, Click) as Eddie, Danny’s cousin.
Brooklyn Decker as Palmer, the young love interest.
Bailee Madison (1 ep of Holliston) as Maggie / Kiki Dee, Katherine’s daughter.
Griffin Gluck (Sideways, 1 ep of The Office) as Michael / Bart, Katherine’s son.
Dave Matthews (You Don’t Mess With The Zohan) as Ian Maxtone Jones, Devlin’s husband.
Allen Covert (Grandma’s Boy, 50 First Dates, Deuce Bigalow:Male Gigolo, The Wedding Singer, The Waterboy, Airheads) as Soul Patch.